De Krans Wines awarded two Golds and two Double Golds at the 2021 Vitis Vinifera Awards
We asked Annemi Nel, the Marketing Manager of De Krans Wines a few questions after their stallar performance at the 2021 Vitis Vinifera Awards.
Tel us how you fit in with De Krans Wines.
My grandfather, Chris Nel, made the first wine at De Krans, followed by my dad, Boets Nel, who has been at the farm for 40 years this year. I loved growing up on the farm and have the best childhood memories as a result. I studied Psychology at Stellenbosch University and became involved with the marketing at De Krans in 2016.
Please tell us when De Krans Wines was founded and some of its history?
The history of the farm dates back to 1890 when the farm De Krans was bought by the Nel family. The first grapes were planted at De Krans in 1936 and the current cellar was built in 1964. The first Portuguese grapes were planted (by mistake) in 1973 – they intended to plant Shiraz, but it turned out to be Tinta Barocca. One of our current Terroir Range wines, the A Twist of Fate pays tribute to this honest mistake, and how it catapulted the start of the port industry in Calitzdorp. In 1977, the first port was produced at De Krans.
The De Krans farm was originally known as Buffelsvallei, due to the rife wild life that was living on the land. Another name changed followed in 2003 when Die Krans changed to De Krans, a practical necessity to accommodate the struggle with pronunciation the word “die”.
What are some of the unique features of De Krans Wines?
De Krans Wines is situated in Calitzdorp in the Klein Karoo on the Route 62. Calitzdorp is also known as the Port Capital of South Africa. The unique terroir, similar to the upper Douro valley in Portugal, has allowed us to grow and produce excellent wines of Portuguese cultivars. De Krans Wines is traditionally known for its award-winning, quality port-style wines, having received more than twelve five star ratings in the Platter’s Wine Guide as well as several other accolades. We have a Bistro and Deli on the farm, situated under the Hanepoot Vines, which makes for a perfect breakfast or lunch spot. We also offer fruit picking in Summer, starting with apricot picking in November, peaches in December and Hanepoot grapes in February.
What do you think are unique about the products you have?
Probably the thing most unique is the wide variety of different wines we produce at De Krans Wines. Apart from the port-style wine range we also have a Terroir Range, which consists of dry wines produced using Portuguese grape varieties, the Premium Moscato Range, as well as the Classic Varietal Range. The Classic Varietal Range includes the Free Run Chenin Blanc, Wild Ferment Chardonnay, Basket Press Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage Rosé. These are boutique style wines produced incorporating unique, focused wine making techniques.
What are some of the unique features of De Krans Wines and your philosophy?
We still have an old basket press that takes 8 tonnes of grapes at a time, which we use in our winemaking process. The press was imported from France in the 1950’s and was originally used as a Champagne press. This press has a very gentle pressing action, that produces great quality wines for us.
We have a very simple philosophy at De Krans. When it comes to our winemaking philosophy, we believe in consistently producing the best wines from this terroir, that is still good value for our loyal consumers. We have managed to embrace our unique terroir and stayed true to our roots, and we have found that this authenticity not only creates trust, but the consumer also relates to it positively. In addition, we pride ourselves on our innovation – we were the first in SA to produce a Cape Pink port-style wine, produced an MCC with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Tinta Barocca, and have used the traditionally sweet Muscadel grape to produce a lighter style, natural sweet wine with a slight fizz – the De Krans Premium Moscato.
What do you think is your distinct advantage or reason for your success?
We have been in the business for a long time and I do think that people respect, value and trust such brands. Calitzdorp is a small agricultural community and I believe this strong heritage organically translated into passion – from the farm workers, to the ladies packing the boxes, to the winemaker, and the sales team. Together with passion, we place high value on providing excellent customer service – at the tasting room, at the Bistro and Deli, in the trade, as well as through our social media channels. The Covid-19 pandemic has really highlighted the importance of having an intentional and focused social media presence, and I believe we have managed and continue to tap into these opportunities for growth online.
Lastly, apart from consistently producing quality wines, I also believe the way we operate on the inside has positively impacted the success of our brand. Living in a small town, De Krans Wines has become a family where the people involved are as important as the wine we make.
What is the consumer demographic of your products, and what feedback are you getting?
Similar to and arguably as a result of our wide variety of wines at De Krans wines, we also have a wide variety and far-reaching customer base. Our Premium Moscato Range is definitely our best-selling range, especially in Kwazulu Natal, Gauteng and to a lesser extent, the Eastern Cape. The natural sweet character of the wines, together with the lower alcohol content, ranging between 7.5% and 8% makes this range very popular, especially amongst women. There will always be a space for our port-style wines, although it is not really a growing market. Premium port-style wines such as our Cape Vintage Reserve is definitely growing in sales, as we find that people are buying less port, but of a higher quality. There is a lot of potential amongst the younger generation to enjoy port-style wines in more modern and user-friendly way, like in cocktails or served with ice in summer.
Where does De Krans Wines fit on the global stage?
De Krans’s port-style wines and dry wines made from Portuguese varietals, such as Verdelho, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barocca are doing well on the global stage, especially through independent outlets and restaurants. Our Classic Varietal and Moscato ranges are also going very well in many markets overseas.
In which countries can your products be found?
We mostly export to European countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Belgium, but also export to the UK, Africa, and Asia.
Do you perhaps have some innovations in the pipeline?
We definitely do. We have an exciting new product, completely different to anything we have done in the past, in store which will hopefully be released early in the new year.
While innovation is definitely necessary to be able to move forward and stay relevant, it is also at the core of who we are as a brand – innovation keeps us young and keeps us passionate.
Contact person: Annemi Nel
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org